Olympic medalists live an average of 2.8 years longer than the general population, according to a study published by the British Medical Journal.

Researchers compared the life expectancy of 15,174 Olympic athletes who won medals between 1896 and 2010 with that of general population group matched by country, age and gender.

Medalists of all colours achieved a similar survival advantage over the general population, as did medalists in both mixed and endurance sports. The authors stated that”possible explanations include genetic factors, physical activity, healthy lifestyle, and the wealth and status that come from International sporting glory”.

An accompanying editorial suggests people who do at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous -intensity physical activity per week can gain a similar advantage over the inactive population: “Although the evidence points to a small survival effect of being an Olympian, careful reflection suggests that similar health benefits and longevity could be achieved by all of us through regular physical activity. We could and should all award ourselves that personal gold medal”


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